STAR Kids stands for Super Thinking and Responsible Kids. This program of CYFS uses the resiliency-based curriculum, Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices, designed for children ages 3 to 8, to provide prevention services to approximately 230 children in Monticello Area Community Action Agency (MACAA) Head Start classes in the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson. The curriculum is designed to develop children’s personal, social and emotional skills for life. It helps create a classroom environment of caring, cooperation, respect and responsibility.
The Al’s Pals curriculum is delivered by trained educators twice a week from October through May of each year for a total of 46 lessons. The lessons last approximately 15 to 20 minutes each. The Head Start Teachers assist during the lessons and then reinforce and model the key Al's Pals concepts during interactions with the children throughout each day.
Using the puppets – Al and His Pals – music, movement, dramatic play, brainstorming and creative learning activities, young children learn to get along with others, manage their feelings, think independently, control their own behavior, cope with difficulties, solve problems, and make safe and healthy choices. Regular communication is sent home to the participants’ parents to engage the whole family in the “make healthy choices” message.
An end-of-the-year party is held to celebrate the children’s accomplishments in the program and the new skills they have learned, again reinforcing positive messages about the child.
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